Shortage of vaccine causes prices increase

As the exchange rate is fluctuating, prices of vaccines in Vietnam have recently surged yet some medical facilities announced to be short of many vaccine while parents are afraid of vaccine available in the National Expanded Immunization Program.

At 7 AM, Ms. Nguyen Hong Th yesterday drove her 2 year old daughter from District 9 to Children Hospital No.2 for immunization yet she read the announcement that the hospital has no vaccines. She had no choice but returned home which is far from the hospital.

Similarly, in the same day, other medical institutes are short of vaccine. At Pasteur Institute, 4-in-1; 5-in-1 and 6-in-1 vaccines were sold out; even normal vaccines are running out of. Medical workers of the institute said that 6-in-1 vaccine has been sold out for one year.

The South Korean-made vaccine is meant to prevent five common, potentially fatal childhood diseases: diphtheria (D), tetanus (T), pertussis (P, whooping cough), hepatitis B (HepB), and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib). The vaccine was included in the National Expanded Immunization Program in June 2010, and the country has administered over 11 million doses of Quinvaxem across the country so far.
Worse, the price of vaccine soared up. For instance,  vaccine Euvax B 0.5 ml and Euvax 1ml against hepatitis B has gone up from VND80,000 (US$3.5) and VND120,000 (US$5.34) to VND100,000 (US$4.45) and VND145,000 (US$6.45) respectively.

The prices of vaccines in Vietnam have recently surged by five to ten percent due to scarcity and foreign manufacturers hiking their quotes, according

Vietnam still enforces the national mandatory inoculation program which provides free vaccination for all children. Though the Ministry of Health reassured the quality of vaccine used for national mandatory inoculation program, it has failed to get trust from ordinary people because of many accidental deaths after injection.

Lately, one more kid died after vaccination of five-in-one Quinvaxem. The 4 month old neonate in Nam Xuan Commune in Krong No District in the highlands province of Dak Nong got anaphylactic shock and died on the way to hospital for emergency. Immediately, the provincial Department of Health decided to stop use 3,500 dozes in the lot that had vaccinated the kid.

This is not the first death after vaccination of Quinvaxem. Over 10 children died after they had been vaccinated Quinvaxem since the Southeast Asian nation used the vaccine in 2010.

In 2012 and 2013, departments of health in provinces reported the harmful reaction after immunization of Quinvaxem.

Accordingly, in May, 2013 the Drug Administration under the Ministry of Health sent its document to cities and provinces to suspend Quinvaxem vaccine, following several deaths and severe allergic reaction cases.

However, the vaccine continued to be used as tests showed that it is safe yet there has been unexpected reaction after vaccination and medical staffs concluded because of children’s bad health not because of vaccine.

Medical facilities will have software to follow a person’s vaccination schedule in their lifetime, said the Ministry of Health after the ministry liaised with Viettel Corporation to work out a plan to manage people’s vaccination schedule. The program is being implemented in the northern province of Bac Ninh. Each person will have their own code which shows vaccination time, venue, and name of a medical worker who administered vaccine.

By Tuong Lam – Translated by Uyen Phuong

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